Texas Health Resources goes transparent

Texas Health ResourcesTexas Health Resources hospitals will share its quality report cards online.

'We know we manage to what we measure'

Texas Health Resources, a 25-hospital health system, is going public with its reporting of patient safety and quality measures, making what was once an internal report open for all to see – "warts and all," as Texas Resources Chief Clinical Officer Daniel Varga, MD, put it.

"Public reporting of this data will really turn up the heat on our performance," said Varga, who noted that physicians were excited about the move to share the data, “and a little nervous as well."

Texas Health Resources COO Barclay E. Berdan said providing a transparent report card was part of stepping up as “really good stewards of our hospitals.”

"We like what hospital reporting will do for our consumers," Berdan said. "More importantly, it’s the right thing to do." Berdan said the extent of transparency Texas Health Resources will provide is rare today. It was inspired in part by work Varga participated in while at Norton Healthcare in Louisville, Ky., beginning in 2005.

"Norton has been a model for public reporting for soemtime now," he said.

[See also: Top hospitals named for transparency.]

Varga and Berdan made their remarks at an online news conference April 29, where they also fielded questions from the audience.

There are measures for most everything – pneumonia and bypass surgery, cardiac care and healthcare-acquired infections. What is in the internal report will go external, with the intent to help drive performance improvement.
 
"We know we manage to what we measure," Varga said. "We really manage to what we manage and report."

The system's Quality and Safety Report is based on a variety of indicators, mostly clinical data, and it includes the most currently available data.

Varga said the reports would be governed by three rules:

  1. If Texas Health offers a medical procedure or treatment, we will try to find a third-party indicator that is appropriate to report.
  2. All the indicators we use will be owned by some other organization, they will not be proprietary to Texas Health Resources.
  3. We will include both the positive and negative metrics – we will not censor those we do not like. As a founding principle, we do not decide what to make public based on how it makes us look. We will give equal prominence to both favorable and non-favorable results."

"There are many hospital performance reports available but there are very few healthcare systems in the country that publish quality indicators using third-party measures," said Berdan, in a news release. "Even fewer also publish both the positive and negative information. In the same spirit as our Stewardship Report, Community Responsibility & Sustainability Report, and public financial reports, the Quality and Safety Report is an additional way of demonstrating our commitment to transparency and accountability for the resources and trust the community has invested with us."

[See also: URAC, Leapfrog put the spotlight on hospital transparency.]

The reports from April through September will be non-interactive, static reports, Berdan said. However, as capabilities of the reporting platform are refined, the reports will evolve to include an interactive component that will provide additional information. The initial reports will include 15 indicators made up of approximately 300 metrics. The report displays clinical results, such as complication rates or number of procedures performed at each hospital.

The "Quality and Safety Report to the Community: A Transparent Report Card from Texas Health Resources" is posted here.

"We are stepping out ahead of every other health system in North Texas and ahead of most other systems across the nation," said Doug Hawthorne, CEO of Texas Health Resources, in a press statement. "We encourage other health systems to join us and embrace transparency in reporting quality and safety because it will raise the performance bar for all of us. It is the right thing to do for the people of the communities we are privileged to serve."